Index Insider: Personal Connection Matters When It Comes to Deals

Hello. This is Alex Bakker and Paul Reynolds with your weekly briefing on what’s important in IT and business services.
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As the saying goes, “people buy from people,” and evidence from ISG’s deals certainly confirms the sentiment. ISG collects data on each provider’s performance as part of our ISG FutureSource™ methodology. Among this data, we ask our advisors who are facilitating the transaction to rank how well the provider performs on ten attributes. The ranking is on a three-point scale – below average, average and above average.
Among the ten attributes are three that get at how well the provider’s team connects with the client’s team. We find that provider teams that manage interpersonal relations, collaborate, and listen well to the client are much more likely to progress beyond the first round of the deal. (See Data Watch)
Progressing beyond the first round doesn’t necessarily mean winning, but being eliminated does mean losing. Additionally, interviews from our pursuit effectiveness research suggest that building relationships early in the deal facilitates every step of the deal afterwards, including solution design, negotiations and transition.
To read more about this data, check out this research note.


Providers that move beyond the first round of our deal process score 20% higher on average on their interaction with clients


  • Walmart acquires Volt Systems to improve store analytics (link).
  • Accenture acquires Indonesian creative agency Romp (link) and leadership consultancy YSC Consulting (link).
  • Blackstone acquires CoreTrust from HCA Healthcare (link).

About the authors

Alex Bakker

Alex Bakker

Alex leads the Primary Research Team where he focuses on study design, panel research, and interview based research for ISG. In addition to leading the Primary Research practice at ISG, Alex also serves as the lead analyst on provider pursuit effectiveness, and helps IT service providers understand how they can improve performance in the competitive process. 
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Paul Reynolds

Paul Reynolds

Paul Reynolds leads Momentum, a division of ISG that provides research services to help service providers better target, win and retain business. Paul has 25 years of market research experience with specific expertise in methodology development, data analytics and research process design. Having found many service providers’ Advisor Relations functions to lack appropriate analytics, Paul is working to develop innovative new approaches that allow for data-driven programs based on the unique needs of each client. His approach benefits Advisor Relations, go-to-market functions, sales, strategy, marketing, and market/competitive intelligence teams.